How to Get Help for a Loved One With A Gambling Addiction

Gambling Addiction | Lakehouse Recovery Center

Gambling Addicition is Real

Everyone loves the thrill of winning. One minute you’re betting high, risking most of your money, and the next minute, you’re sitting with a couple thousand (or millions of) dollars. It’s a high like no other. Sure, you might feel good with a hit of cocaine, but with gambling, you’re on the top of the world. And you’re feeling that way without the use of any drugs or alcohol.

You’ve got money, and that gives you power, status, and security.

Signs To Know You Have a Problem

There’s a difference between someone who continues to gamble after that big win and someone who doesn’t. The person who stops gambling and goes home might recognize the fun of it all.

They aren’t relying upon gambling to pay the rent. They are enjoying time with friends or family. And they have the ability to limit their playing because they know the high stakes involved. Gambling is a past time not a means of survival.

For the person who keeps going, there is an entirely different relationship with gambling. They might be in it to win large sums of money perhaps because their livelihood depends on it. They have come to love the high of a big win so much that they want to feel that feeling again and again and again. In other words, they’re getting hooked on it.

That feeling, the rush of dopamine, is itself a drug. After awhile, someone who is addicted to gambling might feel like they don’t have the ability to stop. Perhaps at some point they may want to after seeing the financial destruction it’s causing, but they might feel like they can’t.

In fact, one of the clearest sign of addiction is when a person wants to stop but doesn’t have the ability to. If you’re seeing signs of a gambling addiction in someone you love, you are likely concerned, especially if you’re dependent on that person financially.

Gambling Addiction Red Flags

  • Selling personal belongings
  • Borrows money and does not return the loan
  • Stealing and lying to friends and family
  • Possessing large amounts of money without good explanation
  • Possessing a great deal of debt
  • Receiving a number of phone calls from strangers
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Growing absences from school or work
  • Making frequent calls to 900 gambling numbers.
  • Spending large amounts of hours online

Professional Can Help You Get Educated and Get Better

If you’re seeing these signs, one suggestion is to get professional help. You can look for a mental health provider in your neighborhood or perhaps a local Gambling Anonymous 12-step meeting. Although you’re not the one with the addiction, by attending a 12-step meeting on gambling addiction you can become educated on how to help.

As a regular attendee, you can also benefit from the peer to peer counseling that 12-step meetings provide.

However, you can also go to Gamblers Anonymous online and look for the Counselor Search button. Use that to find a gambling counselor in your area as well as join a support group for family members of those who are addicted to gambling. Lastly, you can call the National Council on Problem Gambling’s 24-hour confidential national hotline at 1-800-522-4700

These are methods to get help for you and your loved one. With professional support and education on the illness of addiction, you may find a new way to help and heal.


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